Wd003 : Tyn-y-coed (Site Only) | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Wd003 : Tyn-y-coed (Site Only)

Item details

Name of item: Wd003 : Tyn-y-coed (Site Only)
Primary address: 8-16 Woodbury Street, Woodford, NSW 2778
Parish: Woodford
County: Cook
Local govt. area: Blue Mountains
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
8-16 Woodbury StreetWoodfordBlue Mountains WoodfordCookPrimary Address
107 Great Western HighwayWoodfordBlue Mountains   Alternate Address


Physical description: The site is now occupied by eight modern houses, their gardens and adjoining bush. Its frontage on Woodbury Street is now occupied by five modern houses (nos. 8, 10, 12, 14, 16-18), while 110, 107 and 106 Great Western Highway, to the west of Woodbury Street, seem to occupy part of the original David 26 acres. It is unlikely that significant archaeological remains lurk on any of these properties.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
It is unlikely that significant archaeological remains can be found on any of the modern properties now occupying the site of ‘Tyn-y-Coed’.
Date condition updated:15 Nov 04
Current use: Various Residences
Former use: Residence


Historical notes: Tannatt William Edgeworth David (1858-1934), the child of a Welsh manse, was educated in classics at Oxford, with a view to entering the Anglican ministry, until ill-health interrupted his studies. After a convalescent sea-trip to Canada and to Melbourne in 1878-9, he returned to Oxford and became fascinated by geology, although he still graduated in Greats in 1881. He then went to London and studied geology with Professor Judd at the Royal College of Science. When Liversidge, the Professor of Chemistry at the University of Sydney, was asked to recommend an assistant geological surveyor to the New South Wales government, he approached Judd who suggested Edgeworth David.(Vallance & Branagan, Australian Dictionary of Biography, VIII 218)

David accepted the offer and came to Australia late in 1882. An indefatigable field-worker, he did important work first at Yass and then in the northern tin-fields until 1884. In 1885 he married Caroline Martha Mallet, who had come to Australia on the same boat in 1882 to take up the position of principal of the Hurlstone Training College for female teachers.(ADB, VIII 218)

The early years of the Davids’ marriage were spent at geological field survey camps in the Lower Hunter River district where Edgeworth David discovered the South Maitland coalfield. Two of the Davids’ three children were born at Maitland. David distinguished himself as a lecturer at Maitland and these skills were known to Liversidge and to Stephens, the Sydney Professor of Geology and Palaeontology. As a result, when Stephens died in 1890, Edgeworth David was appointed to his chair at the University of Sydney at the age of 32. (ADB, VIII, 219)

David was an inspired appointment and he rapidly made an international reputation through his fieldwork in 1897 drilling deep on the coral atoll of Funafuti, in the Gilbert and Ellice group. Back in their Ashfield house, David and his wife bought 26 acres (10.5 hectares) at Woodford, where there was an existing weatherboard cottage, two-roomed with two skillion rooms at the back. The Davids altered this cottage, sold the Ashfield house and used Woodford as their favoured residence from 1899 until they acquired their house ‘Coringah’ in Burdett Street, Hornsby in 1920. Just as they had done at Woodford, the Davids expanded the 1903 cottage at Hornsby , while preserving the original native vegetation and creating a garden. Although the David were not wealthy (Mrs David spoke of ‘Coringah’ as ‘cheap enough for the purse of a university professor’), they seem to have retained the Woodford cottage as a favoured country retreat until Edgeworth’s death in 1934. (Barker, Houses of Hornsby Shire, II 152-157)

To emphasise his Welsh origins, Edgeworth David named the Woodford cottage ‘Tyn-y-Coed’, the ‘house in the trees’ (often mistranslated as ‘the shack in the bush’: ‘ty’ is a proper house in Welsh, not a mere hut). The couple and their children created an orchard with apples, pears, peaches, plums and other fruit and a hedge of Kentish cherries and hazels was planted, while they had their own cow and chickens. (Searle, Historic Woodford and Linden, 77-78)

While living at ‘Tyn-y-Coed’, David achieved wide scientific fame. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1900 and in 1907-9 he accompanied Shackleton to Antarctica, leading the first ascent of Mount Erebus. During World War I he served in the Mining Battalion in France and was knighted in 1920. He resigned from his chair in 1924, when he was 64, visited England in 1925-6 and devoted his last eight years to mapping the geology of Australia. (ADB, VIII 219-221)

Lady David survived her husband for seventeen years and may have continued to use the Woodford cottage as a retreat. She was active in the community, serving as president of the Bush Book Club, campaigning for the six o’clock closing of public houses, serving as president of the Women’s National Movement for Social Reform and as Commissioner of the Girl Guide Movement from 1922 to 1936. With her husband away on field trips, war duties and official business much of the time, Lady David had for long been responsible for planning and co-ordinating most of the alterations to the family’s homes. She died in 1951.(ADB, VIII 221)

Nothing remains of ‘Tyn-y-Coed’, not even its name. Its frontage on Woodbury Street is now occupied by five modern houses (nos. 8, 10, 12, 14, 16-18), while, in a bizarre numbering sequence, 110, 107 and 106 Great Western Highway, to the west of Woodbury Street (102 and then 101 are to the east), seem to occupy part of the original David 26 acres. It is unlikely that significant archaeological remains lurk on any of these properties.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Sir Edgeworth David was the benevolent guru of Australian geology for half a century, with an international reputation and a dominating place within university and government.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanLEP1991WD00327 Dec 91 183 
Heritage study WD003   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Blue Mountains Heritage Study1983WD003Croft & Associates Pty Ltd & Meredith Walker  Yes
Heritage Study Review, Blue Mountains1992WD003Tropman and Tropman  Yes
Blue Mountains Heritage Review2003WD003Jack, Hubert, Lavelle, MorrisIJ, PH Yes
Technical Audit BM Heritage Register2008WD003Blue Mountains City CouncilCity Planning Branch No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAllan E Searle1980Historic Woodford and Linden
WrittenClive Lucas, Stapleton and Partners Pty Ltd1997Coringah (Edgeworth David House) Conservation Management Plan
WrittenHelen Barker1998Houses of Hornsby Shire, Volume II, 1880-1938
WrittenT G Valance and D F Branagan1981David, Sir Tannat William Edgeworth (1858-1934), in Australian Dictionary of Biography, volume 8

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 1170691

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